Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘LES’

CMJ Day 2

Posted by xneverwherex on October 20, 2011

CMJ Day 2
10/19/11

Day 2 of CMJ was a bit of a slow-down. I totally missed out on the Duke Spirit (thanks work!), but I did get to head down to yet another lovely, swanky hotel. I ended up spending the later afternoon over at Thompson LES Hotel which is a really great hotel thats nearly hidden. The elevators play old movies and the roofdeck bar is quite nice with views of the LES. Its enclosed and is a great place to hang out.

The music was even better up there. The two bands I saw had a similar electronic sound. Little Red from Melbourne, Australia

were really great live. They have very catchy vocals and strong harmonies. A synth-pop guitar driven pop sound. The bass lines on “Rock It” are catchy and toe-tapping – the whole song makes you want to get up and dance. You can almost picture line-dancing to it – until the keyboards and electro beats kick in. A fun live band.

Little Red

Small Black

Small Black, from Brooklyn, had a similar sound. While still dancey, they definitely have a more lo-fi electronica feel. With 2 keyboards, the band is very much embracing the 80s sound. The band looks to be quite young, but clearly have fun once they hit the stage. Lots of dancing and getting into the show. Definitely worth seeing – and since theyre from Brooklyn – no rush to see them at CMJ.

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Islands, Man Man, Sun Airway and Michael Cera!

Posted by xneverwherex on January 30, 2011

Mister Heavenly
Sun Airway
Little Shalimar
Bowery Ballroom
1/16/10

Close your eyes. You can hear it around you – stars sparkling, a night that makes noise. It envelopes you – takes you somewhere. The only clue you have that youre not dreaming is your standing in front of a stage at Bowery Ballroom. The soft haunting vocals evoke a dream-like state. Everytime I hear Sun Airway – that is the feeling that overcomes me. Im not quite here, I’m floating off somewhere.

And then their music becomes a bit more pop-sounding – at times evoking Chris Martin (Coldplay) vocals and a big sound. Its only fitting that the wall behind them shows images of lights swirling, different colors, adding to the space-y feeling.

By now Ive seen Sun Airway quite a few times. Im barely able to count the times on one hand as they seem to be popping up everywhere in New York. Its not a complaint – I cant get enough of them and theyre the draw for a bunch of other bands – that I might not check out.

When they opened for Mister Heavenly – one of those new “super bands” – I saw their name on the bill and of course it was a much easier yes. Mister Heavenly surprisingly works quite well with Honus Honus of Man Man, Nick Thorburn of Montreal’s Islands and Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse. Theyve also recently added Michael Cera on bass. Yeah – one and the same – the actor who plays bass in Nick and Nora’s Infinite Wedding and the even more likeable Scott Pilgrim vs The World.

The band sounded excellent. Nick was quite talkative telling stories about being at airports, some anecdote about Chili’s and it being chilly, something about street corners in NYC (or maybe Brooklyn), etc. He seemed at ease and having a great time. He had amazing chemistry with Honus Honus who the crowd was going nuts for. I cant figure out if it was his birthday or not – but there was a bottle of Maker’s Mark on the stage and he was drinking it up and sharing with the band members. The 2 guys alternated on vocals and each sounded great. Having not been familiar with their music, aside for one or two songs, it was all a surprise for me.

I did know that Michael Cera might be making an appearance, but that wasnt even a certainty. He plays with a certain aloofness, never quite interacting with the audience and for the most part playing with his back to us. Nick tried to bring him out, leaning against him, playing their guitars facing each other. Either way – its Michael Cera and hes pretty damn cool.

Their music is very catchy and very pop-friendly. They’ve described their music as ‘doom wop’ which is oh so fitting. With lots of doo-wops of the 60’s sounds but lyrics about doomed love songs – theyre creating their own niche. Ill be expecting for them to blow up sometime very soon (regardless of if Mr Cera plays with the band).

Pics coming soon.

Setlist:
Mister Heavenly
I am Hologram
Hold My Hand
Harm You
Reggae Pie
Charlyne
Diddy Eyes
Hybrid
Pineapple Girl
Bronx Sniper
Yer Girl
Doom Wop
Wise Men
-Encore-
Tumbling
Bad Men

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Science & Fiction – A New Year of Shows

Posted by xneverwherex on January 15, 2011

Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals)
Eleanor Friedberger (Fiery Furnaces)
Rockwood Music Hall
1/13/11

Its a new year which of course means lots of new shows. And its easy to judge a year seeing how the first show was.

Well, aside for the fact that I am not a fan of Rockwood Music Hall (for various reasons), it is a great place to see shows. Its small and intimate and seeing a show with maybe 100 other fans is pretty special.

Gruff Rhys definitely does not disappoint live. On stage was just him, a table and a chair. The tables were covered with records and a tiny keyboard along with a few other things. One of the great things about seeing him live is that he really works with the music. He changes things up and makes it interesting if not becoming totally bizarre.

The first song started out with him just putting on a record which he said was Birds from Finland. And sure enough, it was just birds chirping along. He slips on his guitar and starts with the slower songs. As he said, he needed to get these out of the way. “Science & Fiction” was pretty beautiful with just his vocals, a guitar and birds chirping.

Each song was a bit different with other things he’d add to it. He’d wind up a metronome to keep time and you would just hear the click click as it went back and forth before he’d start a song. He always had some funny things to say and was quite funny. He also played a few songs in Welsh, telling us so kindly what he was singing about.

“Candylion” was a definite highlight to the show. As he told a story about a missing CD, which was also on a broken computer, which led to him playing the song with his own 12″ record. With all things crazy, only the first 15 secs of the song had just the drum beats. So he’d start the song on record, sing his vocals, and then he’d have to lift up the needle and go back to the beginning. It was confusing at best, hilarious as hell, and was creative as all get up.

His use of a kids keyboard that lit up when the keys were touched was quite cool. He tried to originally create a song with ‘Gangstas Paradise’ (one of the pre-programmed beats), but ended up using a different beat. His use of playing with sounds, looping his vocals, changing them up and adding his own things to each – really made his music stand out. If anything, Gruff proved to be a hilarious and humble guy and was just having a great time.

Gruff brought along with him Eleanor Friedberger of Fiery Furnaces, a band from NYC that the Super Furries had previously gone on tour with. I knew nothing of them (aside for the fact she used? to date Alex of Franz Ferdinand). Her music was quite good – it was just her and a guitar. She seemed a bit nervous at first but then quickly warmed up to the crowd. She was totally humble and self-deprecating – telling the crowd how she knew we only wanted Gruff. She played some songs of Fiery Furnaces and then some new song she wrote. It was a really short set – maybe 20 mins, but quite enjoyable. Her songs did have the problem in that they werent very distinguishable. Regardless, she was awesome to watch and had a great voice.

All in all – 2 great people – and 1 great night.

Btw – leaving the venue to finding about 20 police surrounding the building and not letting people out of the other doors was pretty crazy. Still trying to figure out if a drug-bust was going down or will it be another LES venue that has doors temporarily shuttered?

Setlist:
Science & Fiction
Sophie Softly
Shark Ridden Waters
Cryndod Yn Dy Lais (Super Furry Animals B-side)
Lonesome Words
If We Were Words (We Would Rhyme)
The Court of King Arthur
Candylion
Gyrru Gyrru Gyrru
Sensations in the Dark
Cycle of Violence
Rubble Rubble
Gwi Mi Wn
Shark Ridden Waters

Gruff Rhys @ Rockwood Music Hall

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CMJ 2009 from NZ to UK to Iceland

Posted by xneverwherex on November 2, 2009

10/20 – 10/24 – CMJ Music Marathon

Tuesday: New Zealand Showcase @ Red Bull Space – SOHO

The first night of CMJ was almost a failure. Thankfully some friends of mine who get off of work earlier managed to get a great place in line. Unfortunately, so many people werent able to get in. The great thing about this was once you were inside, it wasnt painfully crowded. There was so much alcohol (thank you 42below!) flowing. Better yet, they created their own drink concoctions which were beyond potent. The vodka was insanely delicious but the redbull combination was enough to do anyone in. Oh and free food all night long! All in all – easily the best CMJ showcase I attended (and it didn’t hurt that it was free). 🙂

Now – lets get to why we’re all really reading this. The music. New Zealand never disappoints when it comes to bringing in bands. Think: Cut Off Your Hands. And this year, there were a lot of great bands from there.

First up at the ridiculously early hour of 6:30pm was Surf City. They were beyond insanely hyped and were playing everywhere at CMJ. I have to say it was unreal how many shows they had. Unfortunately for the band, their first night they had a lot of sound issues. Vocals were non-existent and everything was so insanely loud and muddy. It just sounded like 30 mins worth of noise and it was not pleasant. (not to fret – I saw them Wed night too and they killed it!).

Motocade was up next and they were the band that I was really looking forward to. Very catchy hooks and that oh-so familiar britpop sound had me really excited. And they were good and catchy and the lead singer was charming. They were fun. I would definitely see them again.

At this point, with plenty of drinking going on, it was a great time to have Bang Bang Eche come on. Hard to believe that the band is comprised of what seems to be teenagers. I cant imagine they’re more than 17 years. But didnt matter. They played their hearts out and were jumping around all over the place, into the crowd and really had the energy. A sort of synthy-electro sound with lots and lots of keyboards and guitars. Nice to see the guys of Die Die Die in the crowd supporting them.

Ive decided that Kingston is my new Electric Touch. Indie-power-pop music at its finest. A lead singer that is very charismatic and has the personality and looks to engage everyone. All the women wanted to be near him and touching him. Their music is very catchy and will have everyone dancing along in no time. The lead singer managed to climb up on top of nearly everything from the bar to the speakers and even did some crowd surfing. Very cool and not something you see all the time. With songs like “You Want It”, youll definitely be singing along in no time…. You want it, You got it! Kinda sums them up. Theyre playing at Pianos in a week or so, so dont miss them. Will be a fun show if anything.

Last up for the night was Die! Die! Die! They definitely continued on where Kingston left off, in a total different direction. Their music is definitely not nearly as pop-sounding as Kingston’s. But their brand of electro-experimental-punk definitely had people moving and jumping. Soon enough a pseudo-mosh pit broke out featuring a lot of Bang Bang Eche. Lots of keyboards, heavy guitars and nearly shouting for vocals was a great way to end the night. Everyone was involved and walked out a sweaty mess.

I then ventured onwards to The Suffolk and had regrets about my last vodka/redbull. I was beyond wired and jittery and it was an awful combination. I was so irate with The Suffolk people who pretty much knew nothing when they told me The Lovemakers was not going to be free. So I ended up taking me and my buzz home for the night.

By far the New Zealand showcase killed it! Overall it was the best group of bands that actually remotely sounded like they should be on one bill. Most other shows were so many random bands it was easy to walk out after just a few.

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